Like any nonprofit, our program depends completely on private donations. Most of our funds come from the generous support of "local" sport sponsors - banks, restaurants, sporting goods stores, landscapers, real estate agencies, law firms, to name a few. We also welcome sponsorships by anonymous benefactors. We offer the incentive of a small commission to full-time students, schools (PTA's/booster clubs/sports teams), or other nonprofit organizations for successful solicitation of Captain Award sponsorships. HIGH SCHOOL: Sponsorships covering a single sport and sponsorships covering all sports are available at the county, state, and national level. COLLEGE: Sponsorships covering a single sport and sponsorships covering all sports are available at the conference and national level.
One of the most innovative educational programs that the Captain Award initiative supports is helping a team organize a pre-season presentation of the latest rules in their sport. Captain Award staff help arrange for a qualified presenter to attend the event -- the host team invites all the coaches and team captains within their county. This event also affords the team an opportunity to ask for donations at the door (for example, $10 for adults and $1 for team captains) as part of their team's ongoing fundraising efforts. In areas where the Captain Award is fully sponsored, the honorarium of the presenter is paid for or supported by the Captain Award program.
Sports Official Training for Beginners
One of the primary goals of the Captain Award program is to promote sportsmanship. What better way to understand officiating than to "walk a mile" in the shoes of an official? A common lament in many sports is, "We don't have enough officials". In some sports, sub-varsity games often have to be canceled for just that reason, and yet the most logical resource for future officials has all but been ignored. The Captain Award program hopes to help increase the number of high school athletes who are also able to officiate. Although age restrictions remain widespread, we have successfully lobbied for lifting bans that have prevented athletes, under 18 years of age, from becoming certified officials. We support proactive recruitment programs for young athletes to try officiating during their high school playing years. Wherever reasonable, we would encourage members of varsity teams to take on officiating responsibilities during junior varsity competitions (with the varsity officials shadowing these young apprentices---mentoring their positioning and play calling). If you would like to see this type of program supported in your area, please contact us and we will help your lobbying efforts.
Advanced Training for Experienced Officials
Being a sports official can certainly be demanding on time and energy. Unfortunately, some in the profession get certified and never attend another training program during their entire officiating career. We would like to see continuing education requirements for all sports officials. We do, however, realize that advanced training is often a burden on the resources of many. Programs can be costly, travel away from home is often untenable, and advanced certifications often don't translate into higher pay. We're realistic about what can be accomplished, but we hope that we can soon offer valuable advanced training programs and provide assistance to help motivated sports officials attend them.
A university team hosted a high school spring tournament as a fundraiser. That team utilized the Captain Award program to hire a certified umpire trainer to provide a “Foundation Umpire Training” course to their players. Rather than spending money to hire umpires, the university players officiated the high school tournament games as part of their certification process. So, not only did the training program helped ensure a successful tournament with plenty of umpires for all of the games, it also, because of the volunteer player/officials, saved money. This enabled the university's team to reach its fundraising goal and the team traveled to Ireland to compete in a college-level tournament.